March 20th, 2009
02:08 PM ET
14 years ago

Special Olympics asks Obama to consider hiring athlete

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics."](CNN) - The Special Olympics organization is calling on President Obama to "consider" hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House, following the president's reference to the organization during his Thursday night appearance on The Tonight Show.

“In so doing, he could help end misperceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Timothy Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics, said in a statement released Friday morning.

iReport: What do you think about the president's comments?

Shriver also said the president was heartfelt in his apology, but added "words hurt and words matter."

"Words can cause pain and result in stereotypes that are unfair and damaging to people with intellectual disabilities,” Shriver said in the statement. “And using "Special Olympics" in a negative or derogatory context can be a humiliating put-down to people with special needs.”

Earlier: Obama apologizes for Special Olympics comment

Full Statement [PDF]

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. newsyoucanuse

    This is the most stupidist crap. Why is media and the special olympics committee making such a big deal about nothing. Get over it people, he was referring to himself.

    In other news...................

    March 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Glenn

    Typiocal liberal Cnn..Figured it would be like that here. Obama is the worst thing in American History. Goodbye back to Fox

    March 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Ryan

    I KNEW this would happen after he said that. People are offended by anything and everything and will find any reason to get on someone's back about a light humored joke. GET OVER IT. I've heard so much worse from other people who are mean spirited. Obama's a good man. Don't take it so seriously. "His appearance was awesome, but he compared a 129 bowling score to the special olympics!" Oh my god! What is the world coming to!? Can we drop it already?

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Mississippi Mike

    Once again, identity politics rears its ugly head. To be fair, though, Obama brought this upon himself.

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Carol

    OH PLEASE!!! It's getting to the point, in this country, that every time a person opens their mouth, they offend someone. This country needs to learn to laugh and quit takinging every little thing that is said out of context and WAAAAAY to seriously.

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. wilma mckee

    Oh my God..... please excuse our president for being human. One of the things that I love about him is that he is a normal human being and as such, is going to put his foot in his mouth once in a while. Anyone who acts like they have never done it is a hypocrit and a liar. ... or just a sour grapes Republican............. They better get used to it, they have 8 more years to whine. Please, lets be constructive and supportive of our president. At least he can make a speech and not sound like a total idiot..... We have had that for the last 8 years.... At least he can speak the English language and not murder it like Gee-Dub.... or Tweedle Dum like I like to call him.

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Fay Tx

    @Jay March 20th, 2009 11:41 am ET
    Pres. Obama doesnt care about people with special needs because he is for abortion and seems to me he'd rather not see them around. Everyone deserves to live***YOU should have been aborted what a better world it would be w/o you and some of the others waiting for President to make a mistake****
    @curt March 20th, 2009 11:48 am ET....He was making fun of his OWN BOWLING Skills by comparing them to the special olympics, get a life people and stop being so thin skinned**Thanks CURT***
    I remember when Daddy Bush referred to His Grand daughters(The Twins) as Brown Ones

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Mitchell Young

    The special olympics is a joke. Any money or time wasted on the mentally challenged is just that money wasted. I think we should take a note from Ancient Greece and begin leaving them onsides of hills.

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Mike

    I have no problem with his comment, but he should of thought carefully before he spoke. He is the president of the united states and any comment that can be taken as offensive, is offensive and will be thought that way by which ever group he spoke about. This isn't unlike the governor of south carolina comparing our inflation to the republic of somolia, where he absolutely had no intention of making a racist comment about african america's, but then a democratic senate from that same state thought it was racist. This happens all the time to politicians and expecially the president. Maybe next time he should just say that his bowling game stinks and move on or compare it to how he has handled the AIG bailout, both are terrible.

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. JP

    Remember John Kerry's botched joke about the troops.
    Words do matter, and make or break people at that level.

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. susan silver

    Oh please! isn't the political correctness getting out of control? This was not offensive, it was just his colloquially saying something we've all said and is not worthy of all this controversy. You cannot open your mouth these days without offending someone's hyper sensibility.
    Give the guy a break! He;s got a million of our problems to deal with and we can't jump on every single word!

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. therealmarie

    Bush was the best person ever to represent the special needs people, he wasone of them.

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    One good reason for a sitting President not to appear on a late night comedy show. His responsibilities are too great to subject himself to saying really foolish things in an offhand manner. Mr. Obama needs to change his ways in a hurry.

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. RH

    I'm for sweeping up all the eggshells the PC brigade has strewn about over the past couple of decades. Political correctness is a complete farce; there is no picking up a turd by the clean end. Let's get real and back to business, people.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Fred Meyer

    Wow, if any other politician other than Barack Obama had uttered those remarks on national television there'd be all sorts of outcry from the media.

    Sure, he's the "new hotness" President but he should be held to the same standard as anyone else.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Russell

    As a disabled person, all I've ever wanted was to be treated like everyone else. I'm glad the president sees us as regular people, subject to jokes and ridicule just like everyone else.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Ray

    What else can you expect from our "special olympics" president?

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. rhonu

    I watched & enjoyed the interview and didn't get the offense to Special Olympics. Was it because the President said the words? Now Timothy Shriver has to have some camera time. Give me a break. Please Mr. President don't hire a special olympic athlete to work in the White House just to appease this man.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. mb

    We need to get away from all of this foolishness. The President meant no harm to anyone. Any one and everyone has always been able to fill out a application to work in the Obama Administration. If the director of the SO wants the administration to hire someone from the SO they need to fill out a application.
    "People need to be reminded that 'God' has no respect of person", meaning that all people are created equal and all have the chance to suceed. 'Wake up people, your pettiness will lead you straight to "HELL."

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Hall for Obama

    SLP: Please do not support President Obama if you dont feel it in your heart. He need your support come what may he do not need rainy day friends. I did not know there was so many perfect people in this world.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Jo Anne

    My brother and his girlfriend have been bowling on Special Olympic bowling teams for over 30 years. I think the President should invite them to come and bowl with him at the White House.

    They miss their New Orleans team since we relocated after Hurricane Katrina.

    March 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Brian

    It was an honest joke. Don't be so sensitive.

    March 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Ent

    We had someone in the White house from Special Olympics already: George Bush

    March 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Jeff

    What’s funny is the same people belittling Shriver, would be championing him had Bush made the same mistake.

    March 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. sidbonfire

    Dan Qualye got sent to the political scrap pile for a whole lot less.

    March 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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